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Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project: A GIS Compilation of Vector Shorelines (1844-2018)

September 1, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management compiled Massachusetts vector shorelines into an updated dataset for the Office's Shoreline Change Project. The Shoreline Change Project started in 1989 to identify erosion-prone areas of the Massachusetts coast by compiling a database of historical shoreline positions. Trends of shoreline position over long- and short-term timescales provide information to landowners, managers, and potential buyers about possible future changes to costal resources and infrastructure. This updated dataset strengthens the understanding of shoreline position change in Massachusetts. It includes U.S. Geological Survey vector shorelines edited for quality control from the mid-1800s to 1989, 1994, 2001, 2007-9, and 2010-14; and one new shoreline from 2018. To produce the 2018 vector shoreline, the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed lidar of the Massachusetts coastline collected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The 2018 vector shoreline was extracted by either a profile method or contour method, depending on the location of the shoreline. The study area included shorelines adjacent to Massachusetts Bay (excluding Boston Harbor), Cape Cod Bay, part of Buzzards Bay (excluding the Elizabeth Islands), Outer Cape Cod, and Nantucket Sound, including the shorelines of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.